Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lawn Chair Catechism and Word Count Wednesday
This summer, I'm participating in's "Lawn Chair Catechism" (or in my case, Patio Catechism :-)) We're studying Joe Paprocki's A Well-Built Faith, "meeting" every Wednesday to consider discussion questions on the chapter of the week.

I expected to do some reading, share some conversation with folks I've come to know at, and maybe some I didn't yet know. I figured I'd learn something, but even if I didn't, I'd be devoting some time to a worthwhile topic.

I didn't expect to enjoy it this much.

Silly, I know. Last year, I shied away from "Lawn Chair Catechism" because I figured anything with
"catechism" in the title couldn't be as light and breezy an approach as the title made it sound.
I was wrong. In retrospect, knowing the ladies behind this production (virtually, anyway), I should have had a little more, uh, faith. The chapters are short. Paprocki uses real (secular) life examples that make sense, but he doesn't skimp on Scripture. He uses snippets and sidebars and cartoons (oh my!) and makes his points humorously, succinctly and clearly. There's real content here, but not in a textbook-y sort of way.

Wait. This is catechism?


Today's chapter was only six - count 'em - SIX pages long, but had more "aha" moments than a twenty minute homily. At the center of it all was the concept that God not only wants a relationship with each of us, but he has already laid the groundwork. He's extended his hand, sent the e-vite, called our name. We just need to RSVP.

I don't know about you, but I don't remember learning that in catechism.
Although I was raised Catholic, I walked away in my twenties, only to walk back again fifteen years later. The short explanation is that motherhood made me do it, but the deeper answer -- and the one that made my second choice stick -- is that I was blessed to walk back into a parish whose teachings included exactly that notion -- the idea of a personal relationship with God.

It's not about stand-sit-kneel. It's not about Hail Marys and Acts of Contrition and Our Fathers or
penance or sacraments or even Mass.

It's about God. All of those other things exist merely to facilitate prayer and bring us closer to Him. They are tools in our relationship tool box, ways of facilitating communication between we humans and our divine father.

Paprocki quoted Stephen Covey's first habit ("Be proactive") in this week's chapter and Sarah referenced that in her post as well. I'd like to add my own Covey habit here: begin with the end in mind. For Catholics -- and all Christians, for that matter -- the desired end is a relationship with God. We begin that relationship by accepting God's invitation, we explore it through the sacraments and the tenets of our faith and we deepen it by accepting that God is in control rather than trying to proactively micromanage every facet of our lives.

If only it were that easy. On to Chapter 3.

Word Count Wednesday: 6118 :-)

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